The educational and activist group The Temple Institute has teamed up with the
right-wing Manhigut Yehudit movement to offer tours of the Temple Mount over
Succot to visitors from abroad.
According to the group, the tours will be
conducted in accordance with Jewish law, which strictly defines the areas of the
compound which can be entered by Jews. Some authorities, including the Chief
Rabbinate, say that entry to the Temple Mount is prohibited by Jewish law,
although the Temple Institute and others hotly dispute this
Access for Jews and other non- Muslims is restricted and police
prohibit any non-Muslim prayer at the site as well as any outward demonstrations
of religious worship, in accordance with the demands of the Jordanian Islamic
Trust which administers the area.
The Temple Institute said in a
statement they have worked tirelessly in moving closer to rebuilding the Third
Temple and that they “invite all those that have come to spend Succot in
Jerusalem to join us on a unique Temple Experience.”
Likud MK Moshe
Feiglin, who heads Manhigut Yehudit and who has advocated for increased Jewish
access to the Temple Mount for many years, welcomed the initiative and will
address participants after the tours.
The site is a hotbed for
controversy, and just last week an egalitarian prayer section of the Western
Wall was condemned by a Jordanian government official as a “blatant attack on
Muslim Monuments,” Jordan’s Petra news agency quoted minister for media affairs
Muhammad Momani as saying.
The Jordanian Islamic Trust insists on
upholding the restrictions on non-Muslim access and prayer.
incidents last week, Arab worshipers threw stones at non-Muslim visitors to the
site, prompting riot police to enter the compound and disperse the
In a recent interview with Israeli media, Israel Police
Insp.- Gen. Yohanan Danino claimed that “free access” was in place at the site
and said that “any Jew who wants to pray on the Temple Mount can pray on the
Temple Mount – but in the time slots that have been established.”
Joint Committee of Temple Organizations, a lobbying and activist group for
Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, subsequently called on the Jerusalem
Police District Commander to allow Jewish prayer in the compound in accordance
with Danino’s comments.
Several MKs, including chairwoman of the Knesset
Committee for the Interior Miri Regev, have expressed support for Jewish prayer
rights on the Temple Mount and promised to work toward that goal.